‘Clever’ Cork city renovation wows judges

The “ingenious” design of a Cork city pad has won it a place in the 2022 Home of the Year final.

There were no arguments among the judges in the penultimate episode of the RTÉ One series, ensuring the renovated house, complete with protected façade and south-facing rooftop terrace, is the seventh and final residence in the running for the title in next Tuesday’s finale.

Architects Hugh Wallace and Amanda Bone and interior designer Sara Cosgrove also visit a modern panoramic house in Dublin and a shop conversion in Kilkenny in the episode.

Sinead Murphy lives in the stylish Cork city home that wows them and when she first viewed the property, it was in need of a full renovation.

She took on the renovation project with the help of her dad and created her modern home.

“I just loved it immediately when I walked in — even though the walls and roofs were caving in I felt that there was a really nice vibe,” says Sinead.

“It was a tough 16 months but it was really enjoyable to work with my dad on this project.

“It was just a site with a protected façade so we basically had to knock all of the house and keep the front.”

Sinead furnished the property with a mix of 70s, Scandi and art deco furnishings inspired by her travels in New York.

“I knew I wanted nice closets, big bathrooms, big bedrooms. I actually have a nice perfect balance of all those three things,” she says.

Sinead’s favourite spot is also a hit with the judges. “It’s on the top floor coming out of my bedroom,” says Sinead of her rooftop terrace.

“It’s a great place to have a cup of coffee in the morning — it’s bright, it’s chilled, it’s kind of casual and when I have friends coming over we tend to gravitate to that place.” 

Hugh is enchanted with the perch: “Here we are up on the rooftops of Cork.”

Sinead’s personality fills the refurbished city-centre pad.

“This home looks elegant and restrained and the green front door sits beautifully with the white,” says Amanda.

Small is beautiful, note the judges, especially Sara: “It’s a lesson in how to maximise a cosy footprint.” 

Hugh is smitten with the timber posts on the oak staircase.

“It actually makes the staircase wider and it also gives a lovely warmth into this room,” he says.

Lesson in how to maximise a cosy footprint

Clever use of storage throughout also impresses all three, such as shoe storage under the stairs, the closet on the upper floor, and a shelf in the kitchen. “These homeowners have just been ingenious,” says Hugh.

The generous-sized bedrooms and bathroom as well as the south-facing roof terrace also surprise the trio.

“Isn’t this amazing to have a bedroom this size in this house?” says Hugh. “I wasn’t expecting this.

“This house just keep giving you more and more.” 

Amanda loves the functionality of the design. 

My mind is blown, to be honest. Every space is thought out and used.” 

Sara says the house is “very romantic but practical and clever”.

“There’s place for everything in this house,” she adds.

Hugh adds: “The homeowner’s eye for detail is in every nook and cranny.” 

The judges give it a score of 28.

Shirley Coleman and Alan Coleman, Dublin 

Shirley Coleman and Alan Coleman have created a modern house in North County Dublin.

Shirley loves the contemporary and spacious interior of her family home and how the house echoes the modernist style.

It links the indoor and outdoor living spaces, and she loves how it sits in the landscape with a view to the sea, enjoying panoramic views of both the sunrise and the evening setting sun.

The judges give it a score of 26.

Padraig and Gráinne Haughney, Kilkenny 

Padraig and Gráinne Haughney live in an old shop conversion along with their three boys, in Kilkenny.

Built in the 1820s as a commercial property, it had been lying vacant for over 50 years before they purchased the premises and, over a three-year period, transformed it into a family home.

As the shopfront is listed, it remained, but was restored along with other original characteristics including the high sloping ceilings, beam and tie bars.

The family love the history of the property and how they have been able to turn it into a family home at the heart of the community.

The judges award it a mark of 26.

  • Home of the Year is on Tuesdays at 8.30pm on RTÉ One. Home of the Year is available on-demand on RTÉ Player each week after broadcast